Help Desk

Human advice for the post-human world

Help Desk

:( Help!

I've been seeing a guy for almost two months while I've been in and out of town. Maybe six or seven dates total. We met on Tinder. I'm starting to really like him.

Tinder has this ill-advised feature where you can see when your match last used the app. Whenever I check on him (which is often; I'm kinda OCD), his profile says he's been online in the past hour or two.

WTF! In person, he seems like such a solid, promising dude. Then an hour after he rolls out of my bed in the morning he's cruising for hookups again?! Should I confront him? I don't want to rush a commitment conversation and freak him out, but this seems egregious.

– Single Woman in Pflugerville Experiencing Distrust

Online dating works wonders in terms of bringing people together. But as for keeping them together – well, that still hasn't been perfected, perhaps because it doesn't help the bottom line of apps like Tinder, which need as many active users as possible. That feature notifying you when your friend last logged in may seem like it's designed to make you miserable, SWIPED. But to Tinder's architects, it may serve a different purpose: to give you permission to start playing the field again. After all, if he's still swiping, maybe you should too.

If you're trying to find your way into a more committed relationship – and it seems from your letter that you are – you'll want to break that cycle sooner or later. You're right to consider speaking up about your need or preference for exclusivity. (For younger readers who only started dating after the rise of apps like Tinder, an "exclusive relationship" is a form of dating, rapidly becoming archaic, in which partners agree not to swipe right with anyone but each other.)

We can't predict whether or not you'll freak him out by talking about commitment, but we can advise that you consider what's best for you, not how he'll react. Take heart that this part of your conundrum is nothing new. Human beings in their first few months of dating have been having emotionally fraught conversations about commitment for eons. We see no meaningful difference between the conversation you're inching toward and that age-old conversation about sexual and romantic boundaries.

If your intimacy is now at a point where he would be abusing your trust by dating other women, by all means, speak up. On the other hand, if you suspect you just need to relax and make sure your "kinda OCD" tendencies (read: control issues) aren't getting ahead of your situation, find some restraint and stop checking his Tinder profile.

And hey, there's always the chance that he's in the same boat as you – logging in often, but mostly to see if you've been active lately. There'd be a lesson in that, if a crisis of distrust were averted simply by keeping that poison pill of online-dating relationships, the "last active" feature, out of sight and out of mind. :) HD

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